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Have you ever attended a wedding and enjoyed everything except the food? Very few things are more disappointing than poor catering at an event, right? 

The truth is that the food experience at your wedding is probably one of the prominent memories that will be etched in your guests’ minds for a long time to come. Therefore, you must nail it! And the best way to ensure that you don’t drop the ball when it comes to catering is to choose the right partners to execute your vision. 

At Curated Events, we do not provide catering services; however, we supply rental equipment to make your guests’ dining experience unforgettable! We carefully choose and thoughtfully organize each element of your wedding day to represent the bride and groom accurately. We also are constantly working alongside the best caterers and are happy to connect you with someone who would be an amazing fit for your event!

This post will explore the cost of wedding catering and the factors that affect it. 

How To Calculate Your Catering Cost

It is a grave misconception that you can determine the total cost of your wedding catering by multiplying the number of guests by the price per plate of food. This is because there are other supplementary elements to consider in catering. 

Calculating your wedding catering costs will require thoughtful planning, research, and communication with potential vendors, including caterers and event rental companies such as Curated Events.

Consider the following steps in your wedding catering cost calculations:

  • Determine your budget: Before considering caterers, you must understand how much you can afford to spend on catering. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending.
  • Establish the type of catering: There are different types of catering, including plated dinners, buffet-style meals, family-style service, and cocktail-style receptions. Each comes with varying price points and can impact your overall catering costs.
  • Write down your guest list: The number of guests you invite will significantly impact your catering costs. Most caterers charge per head, so having a rough estimate of the number of guests will help you get an accurate quote.
  • Request quotes from caterers: Contact several caterers and request quotes based on your particulars. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the costs, including any additional fees, such as delivery and setup fees, staffing costs, and equipment rentals.
  • Make a decision: Once you have received quotes from several caterers, compare them to determine the best value for your money. Remember to consider the food quality, the service level, and the caterer’s reputation.
  • Account for additional costs: Besides the catering costs, there may be other expenses, such as taxes, gratuities, and rental fees for equipment and tableware. Be sure to factor these into your overall budget.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Wedding Catering

Below is a list of factors that affect the cost of wedding catering in one way or another:

Number Of Guests

The number of guests you expect at your wedding reception will be the main factor in determining your catering costs. The more guests you have, the more food, staff, and equipment will be required to serve them, driving up your expenditure. For example, a wedding with 100 attendees will cost significantly less than one with 200 guests; if all factors remain constant. Each extra mouth to feed is an additional coin to pay. 

Menu Selection

The type of food you choose will also impact the cost of catering. Some menu items are more expensive than others. For instance, having steak and seafood on the menu will cost more than pasta and poultry. However, since it’s your wedding day, don’t be afraid to splurge. If you prefer an elaborate food selection, go for it! You can then purpose to save on costs in other areas.


The cost of beverages will also affect your catering costs. In most cases, the couple getting married will cater for water and soft drinks but request their guests to pay for any alcoholic ones they may consume, which is socially acceptable. However, the bride and groom may decide to include the cost of alcohol in their catering budget and provide an open bar for the attendees. 

Glasses of pink champagne decorated with lavender

Typically, alcoholic drinks cost more than non-alcoholic ones. In addition, if you’re providing alcohol, you may need to pay for a bartender or additional licensing fees. Ensure you have all the relevant information concerning such costs before serving alcohol at your wedding reception. 

Taxes And Gratuities

Most caterers will charge sales tax on the total cost of their wedding services. The tax rate may vary depending on your jurisdiction; therefore, it is vital to clarify your caterer’s tax policy and incorporate it into your budget. Additionally, vendors don’t always include gratuities or tips in their contracts. It is advisable to check with your caterer to see if they automatically include these charges in their pricing. 

Service Style

Although easy to overlook, the type of service you choose will impact your catering costs. A sit-down dinner with wait staff will be more expensive than a buffet or family-style meal, where guests serve themselves. However, having waiters and waitresses will ease movement and the general flow of things, adding a touch of elegance to your wedding reception. Is this a cost worth incurring for your guests’ experience? The choice is yours!

Self service style wedding food

Rental Equipment

If your wedding venue doesn’t provide tables, chairs, linens, or other rental items, you may need to rent them from the catering company or a separate rental company. At Curated Events, we provide thousands of linens ranging from whimsical to glamorous, over 20 lines of china in classic and artistic styles, over 25 lines of glassware ranging from simple to crystal, and thousands of chairs in traditional and distinctive designs. We have all this and so much more!

Outdoor wedding venue decorated with neutral tones

If you don’t plan properly, you risk overspending on your wedding catering or forgetting to outsource some vital equipment needed to serve your valued guests. In addition to supplying event rental equipment, we offer event planning services as Curated Events. This means you don’t have to stress about trying to mesh all the elements involved in wedding catering.


If there is no kitchen or serving equipment at your preferred venue, you may need to rent a tent, additional kitchen equipment or have the caterer bring their own. Furthermore, if the place is far from the caterer’s location, the cost of transportation may be high. As a result, you may have selected a more affordable caterer, but in the long run, you may spend more than you had budgeted. Hence the need to calculate all costs before choosing your vendor. 

Tented reception setup with bars

Dietary Restrictions

You may require supplementary food options if you or your guests have dietary restrictions for various reasons. This will automatically drive up the catering cost. As inconveniencing as this may be, you probably don’t have a choice but to incur the expense for the sake of the your guest. Fret not; we have observed that there are many other ways to save on costs to bring down or balance the catering budget. 


The number of staff needed to cater at your wedding will affect the cost. If you have a larger guest count, you will also require more staff, resulting in higher expenses. On the contrary, you may have a small guest count but an elaborate menu, requiring more staff. The service style will also come into play; is it self-service, or are the waitstaff serving the guests?  

Waiter holding a tray with glasses of wine at a wedding

Do you now understand the importance of proper planning and brainstorming? Failure to plan is indeed as good as planning to fail!


The season you choose to have your wedding can also affect the cost. “How?’ you may ask. The answer is simple – certain ingredients may be more expensive or difficult to source in different seasons. For example, mango season in the United States runs from May to September. If you have your wedding outside of that season, mangoes will be harder to source, therefore, more pricey. Demand also drives up cost, so if you’re getting married in peak wedding season, it is likely your cost per plate will be higher than in the off season.

Additional Services

We believe weddings should reflect the bride and groom’s taste, style, and preferences. As a result, what features in one wedding will differ from what features in the next. Your cost will increase if you plan to have additional catering services such as a dessert bar, coffee station, or chocolate fountain (yes, some couples can be extra!). 

Although these additional services may seem irrelevant or wasteful to some, they may make a significant difference to you, and there’s no harm in that. 


White wedding cake with flower

What’s a party without cake? Your wedding day should be one of the biggest parties you will ever throw, so why not add cake to the mix? If you plan to have a wedding cake, this will increase the total catering cost. Depending on the size and design of the cake, it can be a significant expense but a worthwhile one in our books! 

Choosing a wedding cake can be a fun but daunting task. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect wedding cake:

  • Determine your budget: As we have mentioned several times in this article, decide how much you are willing to spend before looking at any cakes. Wedding cakes vary in price, so having a budget in mind can help narrow down your options.
  • Choose a style: Think about the style of your wedding and choose a cake that complements it. Whether you prefer something classic and elegant or modern and unique, make sure the cake matches the overall theme of your wedding.
  • Consider your guest list: The number of guests will determine the size of your cake. For instance, you may need to choose a cake with multiple tiers if you have a long guest list.
  • Determine your preferred flavors: There are a variety of cake flavors to choose from. Consider choosing a flavor that you and your partner enjoy and appeals to your guests.
  • Look for inspiration: Browse through wedding magazines and websites to get inspiration for your cake design. You can also ask your baker for ideas and see if they have a portfolio of their previous work.
  • Schedule a tasting: Once you have a few potential bakers in mind, schedule a tasting to sample their cakes and flavors. This will help you determine which baker has the best-tasting cakes and can create the cake of your dreams.
  • Consider dietary restrictions: If you or your guests have any dietary restrictions, you must discuss this with your baker. Many bakers offer gluten-free, vegan, and other special options. 

Plan Your Wedding With Curated Events

Let’s face it; food is a big deal! Wedding catering is vital to your wedding day, accounting for 20-25% of the overall budget. Consequently, it is critical that you carefully curate and execute the dining experience for your guests. 

The cost of catering goes far beyond the food, which can cause a significant dent in your budget if you are unprepared. Therefore, you must consider the factors affecting the wedding catering budget beforehand. This will facilitate proper planning to avoid mishaps and embarrassment on your wedding day.

We understand that every bride and groom has their unique style and preferences. With event rental equipment and planning services from Curated Events, you will deliver a high-end, luxurious dining affair to cater to all your wedding needs. Partner with us today, and let’s craft a magical wedding experience together!